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Monday, January 8, 2018

Asssemblyman Green's expungement bill signed by Christie

Assemblyman Green outside Plainfield County Office Building.


A bill sponsored by Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green was among a package of three bills easing and broadening expungement of certain criminal records that was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie just days before Christmas 2017.

While Green was a sponsor of all three in the package (S-3306A-5036, S-3307/A-5037, and  S-3308/A-5038), he was the prime sponsor of the Assembly version of the bill (A-5036) which strengthens an earlier law banning employers from asking about criminal records in a job interview or application. Under Green's bill they are now prohibited from doing online searches for criminal records of job applicants.

While these are certainly major advances and may help to greatly reduce recidivism, there is much more that could be done -- especially in shortening the waiting period before expungement can be requested.

Those with long memories will recall that Green was the chief sponsor a number of years ago of a bill that bars those with past criminal convictions from being able to serve on Boards of Education.

Among those who would appreciate the irony of Green's latest legisltive success would be the late Rasheed Abdul-Haqq, who lost his seat on the Plainfield Board of Education as a result. His crime? A youthful drug-related offense, after which he for decades lived an upright life as a community activist.

As the Portuguese say, "God writes straight with crooked lines." 

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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